The 8 Pillars of Trust

Trust: The Leading Indicator (The 8 Pillars of Trust)

According to our global study and The Trust OutlookTM, the number one question everyone is asking is “Can I trust you?”. A lack of trust is your biggest expense in business and life. Each of the 8 pillars of trust contribute to demonstrating why trust is the leading indicator.

Everything of value is built on trust. You’ll pay more for the trusted brand, follow the trusted leader, and buy from the trusted salesperson. Trust is the single uniqueness of the greatest leaders, organizations and brands of all time. Trust is the root cause. It amplifies marketing, speed of the sale, and is the only way to leverage the benefits of diversity.

Leading vs. Lagging Indicators

Leading indicators are typically input oriented, hard to measure but easy to influence. Lagging indicators are typically output oriented, easy to measure but hard to improve or influence. In many cases, the leading indicator is the cause of the lagging indicator.

An example of a leading indicator would be leadership competency. If the leading indicator is leadership competency- measured at the process level, the lagging indicator would be employee satisfaction, measured at the organization level.

Trust is the most important leading indicator as it is vital for driving toward any goal. Whether you are trying to increase your customer satisfaction rate or decrease attrition, trust affects the bottom line. From massive fraud in business to scandals in politics and athletics, the headlines point to a persistent problem of modern life and business—we’re lacking in trust.

So how do you build trust? Many professionals think it is as simple as increasing integrity or honesty. However, the solution much deeper and more complex than this. In order to build trust, you need to look at a much broader spectrum of ideas. The 8-Pillars of trust can assist in building the foundation for success.

The 8 Pillars of Trust- Defined

  • ClarityPeople trust the clear and mistrust or distrust the ambiguous. Be clear about your mission, purpose, expectations, and daily activities. When we are clear about priorities on a daily basis, we become productive and effective.
  • CompassionPeople put faith in those who care beyond themselves.  People are often skeptical about whether someone really has their best interests in mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just an old saying. It is a bottom-line truth. Follow it, and you will build trust.
  • CharacterPeople notice those who do what is right ahead of what is easy. Leaders who have built this pillar consistently do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, whether they feel like doing it or not. It is the work of life to do what is right rather than what is easy.
  • CompetencyPeople have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable. The humble and teachable person keeps learning new ways of doing things and stays current on ideas and trends. Make a habit of reading, learning, and listening to fresh information.
  • CommitmentPeople believe in those who stand through adversity. People trusted General Patton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Jesus, and George Washington because they saw commitment and sacrifice for the greater good. Commitment builds trust.
  • ConnectionPeople want to follow, buy from, and be around those who are willing to connect and collaborate. Trust is all about relationships, and relationships are best built by establishing genuine connection. Develop the trait of gratitude, and you will be a magnet.
  • ContributionFew things build trust quicker than actual results. At the end of the day, people need to see outcomes. You can have compassion and character, but without the results you promised, people won’t trust you. Be a contributor who delivers real results.
  • ConsistencyIt’s the little things—done consistently—that make the biggest difference. If I am overweight, it is because I have eaten too many calories over time, not because I ate too much yesterday. It is the same in business. The little things done consistently make for a higher level of trust and better results.

According to the Trust OutlookTM, the number one reason people want to work for an organization was trust. Ahead of being paid more, ahead of more autonomy, ahead of a more fun work environment, they want to trust their leadership. When the 8-pillars are used together, they make up the great advantage called The Trust Edge.

Trust is the most important leading indicator. When trust increases or decreases, the lagging indicator follows. If a leader is untrusted, both employee and customer satisfaction decrease. If a brand is trusted, revenue will increase, and employee retention will become greater. It affects all aspects of business. In both situations, trust is the first thing that changes.

What Are The 8 Pillars Of Trust? | David Horsager | The Trust Edge

Everything of value is built on trust, and a lack of trust is your biggest expense. So if trust is so important, how do you build it? In the original research, and backed up every year in our annual global research study The Trust Outlook™, 8 traits came out of what makes up a trusted individual and those who have what we call the Trust Edge.

Click Here to view David’s National Best Seller The Trust Edge

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Commitment to Quality and Trust | Trust in Business

Is your organization trusted for its commitment to quality? If there’s room for improvement, you might consider reading Philip Crosby’s 1979 classic Quality is Free. In this book, Crosby outlines how you can improve quality and how to build an environment where commitment in quality is essential.

Why Commitment to Quality Matters

  • Crosby sees quality not just as a set of procedures but a way of doing things – a management philosophy that starts with leadership.
  • Many organizations value quality, but they have little-to-no agreed upon measurement system.
  • Most know the cost of quality in their particular group, but not for their organization. Crosby’s research found that organization’s unaware of their quality costs had actual costs of 20% of sales.
  • He offers this 14-Step Quality Improvement Program, which he expands on in his book.

14-Step Quality Improvement Program

  1. Management Commitment
  2. Quality Improvement Team
  3. Quality Measurement
  4. Cost of Quality Evaluation
  5. Quality Awareness
  6. Corrective Action
  7. Establish an Ad Hoc Committee for the Zero Defects Program
  8. Supervisor Training
  9. Zero Defects Day
  10. Goal Setting
  11. Error Cause Removal
  12. Recognition – Awards Program
  13. Quality Councils
  14. Do It Over Again

Interaction with the 8 Pillars of Trust – Quality

  • Implementing a commitment to quality begins with the clarity pillar. Leaders must become clear on what they see as quality. Then, the leadership teams must agree on what commitment to quality means, how to measure it, and the plan to develop it. It also ends with clarity, as the entire organization becomes clear on a mindset for quality.
  • Quality is often perceived by users as a measure or indicator of an organizations character. If they consistently show high quality, we assume they have high integrity. If we see lapses or discrepancies through an organization’s services or function, they can be seen as having low character. And, if their standards for quality have negative impact on people, we question the other side of character – their morality.
  • Low quality or inconsistent quality steers employees and customers away in many circumstances, because of a perception of competence. Who wants to buy hire a lawyer that wins few cases?
  • Organizations that consistently deliver high quality are known for it. We see them as having a commitment to quality. Think of Ritz-Carlton. Their brand speaks of excellence of quality because it’s experienced throughout the world at their hotels. We know the people that work there have a mindset that’s committed to the maximum quality of your stay.
  • The more commitment to quality, the more growth through the quality stages, and the further on in the stages, the more money saved. Those who are committed to preventing errors in customer and product requirements save on money, time, and brain damage. You can imagine the mad scramble of fire fighters when wind spreads fire to another direction in a forest. This reactionary style which young and old companies have, can be prevented with a clear quality program. If your company lacks one, it could be something to consider.

Click Here to view David’s National Best Seller The Trust Edge

Click Here to visit our YouTube Channel

Contact Us

International Hubbing & Structure | Trust Trends 2014 Series

Major international hubs are forming around manufacturing and logistics clusters, and corridors between them are developing like superhighways of land, air, and sea.

Major international hubs are forming around manufacturing and logistics clusters, and corridors between them are developing like superhighways of land, air, and sea. Global trade, services, and online infrastructure are becoming quicker, easier, and more connected to the source, and manufacturing is shifting from China to Southeast Asia, Africa, and back to the United States. In 2014, the world is growing an international infrastructure.

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Four Guys and Shindig | Trust & Accountability

People sometimes ask me how I stay grounded and on track amidst such busy travel and life schedule. While I certainly can be better, several things come to mind. Strong family, faith, and friendships are at the top of the list. Though I am passionate about The Trust Edge message I don’t get my life from it. One of the most important part of my life has been four guys and Shindig.

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10 Step Process for Instituting Trusted Change | Trust in Leadership

One of the most important roles of leadership involves instituting change that sticks. It’s no easy process, and it will always look unique to the situation, but here’s a simple 10 step model we use each time. Note the pillars from the 8 pillar framework of trust that are most important in each step.


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Set High Ethical Standards | Building Trust with Gen Y Series

Set and expect high ethical standards. (8 of 9 in series)

The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer found that only 17.5% of people around the globe trust their business and government leaders.  The sad truth is that Gen Y expects ethical mishaps from many of their leaders and they’re probably personally influenced by grimy college experiences and superficial reality television shows. There is great opportunity for improvement, and Gen Y wants it.

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Don’t Be Addicted to Anything | Building Trust in Oneself

As we lose another great actor, likely to a drug addiction, I think of what a mentor said to me when I was 12 years old, “Don’t be addicted to anything.” I often think about that statement. It is best not to be addicted to anything. Think about it. People that have to have their coffee or they are going to be hard to deal with are addicted. People that have to have a drink to settle down are addicted. People that have to play “Sugar Crush” before bed are addicted. People that have to watch that one TV show or they will be upset are addicted.  Beware your addictions, big or small, for they run your life to some degree. As Og Mandino said, “We are a slave to our habits. [Therefore,] I will form good habits and become their slaves.”

Steve Schussler Pays Attention to Detail | Trust in Marketing


Steve Schussler author and creator of Rain Forest Café, T-Rex and others at Disney is the ultimate example of staying fresh relevant and capable! At lunch this week I asked Steve how he creates such unique experiences. His first response, “Attention to detail”. Competency, consistency and commitment come together to create unmatched quality. From how he dresses to everything he creates, the little things make the big difference when you work the Steve Schussler! Is he trusted? Yes. From pro athletes to Disney to investors, Schussler is trusted with millions of dollars and more in brand equity.

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